US approves release of GTMO oldest Pakistani prisoner

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Washington

A 73-year-old from Pakistan who is the oldest prisoner at the Guantanamo Bay detention centre was notified on Monday that he has been approved for release after more than 16 years in custody at the US base in Cuba, his lawyer said.

Saifullah Paracha, who has been held on suspicion of ties to Al Qaeda but
never charged with a crime, was cleared by the prisoner review board along with two other men, said Shelby Sullivan-Bennis, who represented him at his hearing in November.

As is customary, the notification did not provide detailed reasoning for the decision and concluded only that Paracha is “not a continuing threat” to the US, Sullivan-Bennis said.
It does not mean his release is imminent.

But it is a crucial step before the US government negotiates a repatriation agreement with Pakistan for his return.

US President Joe Biden’s administration has said it intends to resume efforts to close the detention centre, a process that former president Donald Trump halted.—Agencies